I’m no stranger to the Nürburgring, and I’m beginning to lose count how many times I’ve driven it, (maybe over eight trips?), but there is always an air of trepidation surrounding a visit. Even though it’s not actually that far away, or big a deal to get to. Only around 200 miles once docked in Amsterdam if like us that’s your chosen route; and that includes a good section of road that is derestricted Autobahn. Yes, there’s every chance that you’ll be hitting higher speeds on the way there than you will at the Ring!
Even so, the ‘Green Hell’ quite rightfully has earned its fearsome reputation. And it’s that which I believe puts most people off actually going rather than the (not very tricky at all!) logistics which so often get the blame. The worst-case scenario stories of deaths and financial ruin are always recited, but the more common hassles and breakages are the ones most of us will deal with.
Over the years most of my trips have involved some drama. Smashing an exhaust of on the Carousel, an alternator rattling to pieces at high revs, a turbo shaft snapping, losing all brakes, tyres rubbing so bad I though the car was on fire, a mate’s car actually catching fire… The list could go on!
So why go back?! Well in my mind there’s simply nowhere else that can replicate the experience of driving flat out on the ultimate version of an A-road. It’s so long that you get the feel of the open road, you come up against random other cars which you can legally ‘street race’, plus there’s no worries of potholes, speed traps, pedestrians or oncoming traffic!
The drive south to Adenau was superb fun with our oddball convoy of Cossie, 911, 328i and a decked Puma. Not exactly a matched race in a straight line when it was derestricted, but come track-time it’s all about balls and track knowledge! On the way one of the Cossie’s fan relays overheated and melted a fuse. The bad fuse was removed, and all was well for the rest of the trip running one fan thankfully.
The first day of our three on track was spoiled by torrential rain, making the Cossie (and its driver) feeling very nervous. Just how quiet the track gets when it’s wet is quite telling, as not even the locals want to take on the very slippery surface.
On the next day the track was dry and much busier. And being petrolhead mecca means that there’s always interesting stuff happening and people to meet. One such character was Scottish racing driver, Graham Davidson, who was exploring the limits of his new McLaren P1 hypercar. Another, quite a bizarrely fascinating one, was Astronaut Eugene Cernan – who has the honour of becoming the last man who ever set foot on the moon back in 1972! This weekend he was considerably more grounded, and merely lapping the world’s greatest racetrack in a Ford GT!
Over the trip the only really annoying factor with the Cossie was the bloody awful clutch ratchet, constantly coming out of adjustment and changing the biting point. That, and smacking my splitter in a moment of carelessness. No, not on the Carousel or jumping Flugplatz flat out, but exiting an Amsterdam multi storey car park on the morning of going to the homeward ferry! But if these are the extent of my latest Nürburgring dramas, I’m more than happy with the way things are going!